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Football | Afcon

Mali celebrates © Backpagepics

West African coup at Afcon



West Africa has seized control of activities at Africa’s “World Cup,” the Africa Cup of Nations, in South Africa, with seven teams from the region qualifying for the quarterfinals of the biennial fiesta.

It’s the first time seven teams from one regional body will qualify for the last eight since the quarterfinal stage was introduced in 1992 after the expansion of the competition to 12 teams.

Cape Verde (Group A) Ghana, Mali (Group B), Burkina Faso, Nigeria (Group C) and Cote d’Ivoire, Togo (Group D) all qualified for the quarterfinals for what will be a historic competition for the region.

Call it a regional competition and you won’t be wrong as hosts South Africa remain the only side contending with the West African Football Union (Wafu) contingent.

Niger Republic may have crashed out at the group stage, but back-to-back qualification for the Afcon is a sign of their football development.

Besides, Niger earned their first point in the competition.

Former Nigerian international, Edema Fuludu, who was in Nigeria’s victorious squad at the Tunisia ’94 Afcon, describes the development as a sign of “paradigm shift in African football.”

“It simply means West Africa is now in control. In everything in life, there is a paradigm shift.

“In fact, teams like Togo, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde that we underrate in the past are pushing their way through. At a time the North Africans dominated the scene, but West Africa is now in control,” Fuludu said to supersport.com.

Group A

South Africa & Cape Verde

Surprise team of the Afcon 2013, Cape Verde have confirmed that their qualification was no fluke.

The Islanders eliminated African powerhouse Cameroon on their way to the Afcon party and qualified for the last eight without losing a match.

Two brilliant late goals against Angola earned the team a historic quarterfinal ticket in their Afcon debut.

Group B

Ghana & Mali

Ghana confirmed their status as one of the continent’s best, but Mali eventually picked the second slot ahead of Congo Democratic Republic.

Group C

Burkina Faso & Nigeria

Against all odds, Burkina Faso powered through to the last eight ahead of champions, Zambia and perennial campaigners, Nigeria.

Group D

Cote d’Ivoire & Togo

Togo’s performance against North Africa sides, Algeria and Tunisia confirms the progress of the tiny West African country.

Inspired by Tottenham Hotspur star, Emmanuel Adebayor, the Togolese are in the last eight for the first time.

West Africa in Afcon Quarterfinals

Senegal ’92: Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana (4)

Tunisia ’94: Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire (4)

South Africa ’96: Ghana (1)

Burkina Faso ’98: Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire: (2)

Ghana/Nigeria 2000: Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal (3)

Mali 2002: Mali, Nigeria, Senegal (3)

Tunisia 2004: Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Nigeria (4)

Egypt 2006: Guinea, Senegal, Nigeria, Mali (4)

Ghana 2008: Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire (4)

Angola 2010: Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria (3)

Gabon/Equatorial Guinea 2012: Equatorial Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Ghana (4)

South Africa 2013: Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo (7)

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